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Responding to Complaints

It's possible that, in the course of your business ... you may (just may) have todeal with a ... from a customer or client .... There are two ways you can go about this: You can stand up f

It's possible that, in the course of your business dealings, you may (just may) have to
deal with a complaint from a customer or client ....

There are two ways you can go about this:

You can stand up for your rights (and lose the customer and any possible
You can keep your temper and keep your customer

Replies to Complaints

Most businesses these days have (or should have) as their policy that the customer is
always right. It's far better business sense to replace a couple of items which don't
need replacing - and reap the reward of customer satisfaction and possible referrals -
than to insist on your rights and lose unknown numbers of customers and referrals.

So, the aim of your response to an irate customer is to find out what he / she wants
and to give it to him / her. Even if the request appears to be entirely unreasonable,
what you earn in Brownie Points, often makes up for what you lose in replacing the
item (unless of course it's a Maserati or the like!).

1. Express regret - sincerely (don't say ...we can't understand how this happened...
because this implies that the customer is careless or stupid - since no-one else has
had this trouble).

2. Explain how the trouble occurred (the customer is entitled to know what went wrong-
this also reflects well on your business, since it shows that you've taken the complaint
seriously enough to investigate it thoroughly - and we all like to be taken seriously!).

3. Tell the customer what you are going to do to rectify the situation - the best thing to
do is exactly what the customer said he / she wanted. If this is totally impossible,
suggest a viable alternative.

Sometimes the customer will be at fault - by forgetting to include a correct address, or
leaving out the cheque.

Again, don't write anything, which might make the customer feel silly.

NOT "... you failed to enclose your cheque ..."

BUT "Your goods are packed and ready for despatch. Immediately on receipt
of your cheque, which apparently was overlooked in your original letter, we
shall send them as requested."

Sometimes, it is just not possible to give the customer what he / she wants; and in
this case you must exercise extreme tact in the wording of your letter.

The best way of refusing is as follows:

1. Begin with the refusal - I know it's painful, but it's far better to let your customer
know how things stand from the very beginning.

2. Explain, in detail, why the request had to be refused. This way, you have the rest of
your letter to try to set things right with your customer, and hopefully to end on a
positive note (rather than hitting him / her with the refusal at the end).


the expression of regret should sound sincere. "I am sorry... " sounds better
than the colder, "I regret to inform you "

point out all the reasons for refusing the request

soften the blow by offering some small consideration. It might be a discount on
the next purchase; a voucher for a smaller item (a scarf, tie etc); a
complimentary gizmo from another business (with whom you have a reciprocal
arrangement); flowers; tickets to a film or whatever

Such 'sweeteners' are worth much more than their cost. Instead of a disgruntled
customer, blackening your name, you'll have a happy person, willing to tell everyone
her story's happy ending. Listeners will see your side and will say things like, " ...well,
they didn't have to do anything really, but wasn't it nice of them?"

N.B. If the spelling of words like "cheque" in this article worried youFind Article, please read this:

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